Thanks so much for your reply!
I am not sure which law is applicable.Based on the limited information provided,I would argue the following.........
If the U.K. has not ratified the treaty, then the U.K. courts would not be obliged to consider its parameters. If France had ratified the treaty, this might be problematic, but less so. After all, France is receiving minerals mined from the coastline of another country. The dispute is not really a dispute between nations. Rather, the dispute is one pertaining to contractual agreements; i.e. the one between the barge owners and the U.K. company.
The barge owners erroneously quoted the volume required to presumably inflate the price.
The company that charted the barge feels cheated.
If this were to enter into arbitration, the decision would be binding and the decision is winner takes all. Therefore, one party has everything to lose!
On the other hand, alternate dispute resolution such as mediation might serve both these parties' needs. After all, each has a vested interest in the outcome. Each has something to lose. Provided that the transport was legal, that the U.K. company had the applicable licensure, etc., the U.K. company would theoretically gain some compensation during the mediation.
It the treaty were applicable, the case could be referred to the appropriate tribunal such as the one designated for the Law of the Sea- http://www.itlos.org/
This form, however, results in arbitration. Few cases have been presented to the tribunal, nineteen to be exact.
Does that help?
I'll gladly open this to other experts if you require further assistance. DXJ